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  • «Eccomi, Manda Me!» Introduzione Al Libro III Del Codice Di Diritto Canonico
  • Sean O. Sheridan T.O.R.
«Eccomi, Manda Me!» Introduzione Al Libro III Del Codice Di Diritto Canonico by Jorge Horta Espinoza. Rome: Pontificio Ateneo Antonianum, 2011.

Jorge Horta Espinoza entitles his commentary on Book III of the Code of Canon Law, "Here I am, send me!," in recognition of the right and duty of the members of the Body of Christ to participate in the teaching function of the Church. Following a general introduction to Book III (Unità I, 17-26), Espinoza methodically reviews Book III's canons. Unità II (27-60) addresses Book III's theological elements embodied in canons 747 to 755. While Espinoza entitles unità III "La Funzione d'Insegnare della Chiesa," i.e., the Function of Teaching of the Church, he includes within this chapter all of the remaining canons that Book III embodies. Thus, he covers in a rather systematic way Book III's treatment of the following areas: the ministry of the Divine Word (62-72); preaching of the Word of God (72-81); catechetical instruction (81-94); the missionary action of the Church (94-106); Catholic education (106-122); Catholic universities and other institutes of higher studies (122-141); instruments of social communication and books in particular (142-159); and the profession of faith (159-164).

Espinoza's commentary is a welcome addition to the somewhat limited canonical resources dealing with Book III of the code. Of particular benefit to the reader would be the variety of charts that Espinoza includes in the text to assist the reader with understanding the manner in which the legislator organized Book III and its relationship with other canonical provisions. [End Page 309] For example, Espinoza includes a helpful chart that compares Book III's canons with similar canons in the 1917 Pio-Benedictine Code of Canon Law as well as canons in the 1990 Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches (22). In addition, he includes a chart that characterizes his method for distributing the various actions of the Church's munus docendi: ministry of the Word; missionary action; Catholic education; universities; and instruments of social communication (62). He also incorporates helpful charts dealing with, inter alia, the magisterium (37), the various responses required by the Christian faithful to magisterial teachings (47), a comparison of the 1989 profession of faith with Pope John Paul II's 1998 apostolic letter Ad Tuendam Fidem and canons 750 and 752 (52), an explanation of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's Commentary on the concluding paragraphs of the 1989 profession of faith (53), a description of the various persons who engage in the Ministry of the Word (64), an analysis of catechetical instruction (81), and a comparison of Catholic universities with ecclesiastical universities (141).

Espinoza published his commentary in Italian, and, in many ways, he directs it to an Italian audience. For example, although his bibliography is rather extensive (165-172), the vast majority of his secondary sources are Italian, and he does not include any English language sources. This is particularly noteworthy with regard to Espinoza's comparatively brief (125-132) treatment of the canons dealing with Catholic universities, most of which are in the United States, and which have been the subject of much consideration here. The canonist practicing in the United States should be particularly attentive to the fact that Espinoza has asserted a position on canon 812's mandate to teach the theological disciplines that does not comport with the particular law of the United States. Espinoza writes: "Per mandato s'intende la concessione da parte dell'autorità ecclesiastica competente della facoltà di svolgere un compito giuridico in nome della Chiesa." (130). In contrast the 2001 "Application of Ex corde Ecclesiae for the United States" indicates that the theo logian with a mandate continues to teach in his or her own name by virtue of baptism and not in the name of the Church.1 [End Page 310]

With these limited concerns in mind, Espinoza should, nevertheless, be commended for his efforts to fill a lacuna in the canonical resources dealing with the Church's Teaching Function as...


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